One of the more curious headlines that came out this week was that the University of Kansas is paying their football coach Mark Mangino the exact same annual salary that the U of Nebraska pays Billy C. So if either coach got so jealous of one another to the point of depression, they could simply hire Kim Etheridge, and she could tell the world that they both have 1.5 million reasons to live.
I think Husker Nation just can't handle the fact that a guy who looks and walks like Vito Spatafore before he lost all that weight and got caught going down on that male security guard by Meadow Soprano's boyfriend Finn got a contract with the same numbers that their coach received. I mean, Nebraska's a football school and KU is basketball. So something just wasn't right in Kansas.
But like Vito, Mangino is a hard worker, as evidenced by how close he came to shocking the college football world tonight and making Billy C's hot chair burn up in flames. Seriously, Callahan's gotta find a way to put teams like this away and stop with all of this overtime shit at home. It's a win, against a conference foe, a Big XII North conference foe. And of course all Billy C cares about is winning the North. The Corn should have won tonight by four touchdowns. They had the Jayhawks on the ropes early, and it looked like a repeat of last week's whipping of Troy was the order of the night.
Mangino made sure it wasn't. Like good coaches, he made the right adjustments. He kept his entire team up and motivated and most importantly, convinced them that even though their senior quarterback was having the time of his life throwing 3 interceptions, they could actually come back and win the game in front of over 85,000 anxious fans in Lincoln. The Corn blew a 17 point lead and Mangino and the Jayhwaks forced overtime. In LINCOLN. Which is why Kansas doesn't just want to be a basketball school anymore, and why the University knew Mangino was worth paying the same money that a football school does to their coach. And even though they left Lincoln with a loss, I'm sure his bosses are OK with cutting the checks for Mangino. Or giving him direct deposit if he likes that option.
(But don't cry for Billy C. He's getting A LOT more than the $1.5 million when you consider the dollars that companies like Alltel and Adidas give him, and I'm sure he gets a nice paycheck for having to do a weekly TV show with a guy who looks like one of Rudolph's favorite elves -- the one who always said, "I want to be a dentist". Plus it wasn't like Billy C was some hot commodity when he openly sought out the Nebraska job. Stevie P probably could have gotten Callahan to sign on the line that is dotted for $750,000.)
It would have been a lot more fun this week if Kansas could have done the unthinkable and come all the way back and actually got the W. Even though Nebraska couldn't run the ball (against KANSAS, at HOME), they still have the guy I think will be the All Big-XII quarterback in Zac Taylor, who threw for 4 touchdowns and almost 400 yards. The Corn should be damn happy to escape this one with a win because it's no longer a foregone conclusion that the North is theirs for the taking. The Big XII North is essentially the National League Central Division, and the Huskers are like the Cardinals. It just FEELS like they should win the thing because of their tradition. But Nebraska is just like all the other Big XII teams now. Flashes of some Taylor big plays, they're simply, well, ordinary. Kansas looks like they'll at least go to a bowl game. Missouri is ranked and undefeated. Iowa State can hang with just about anybody (and like Billy C, they have a way of making games too close against teams they should blow out).
I can already see the first paragraph in Tom Shatel's column tomorrow morning in the Omaha World Herald. It's too easy and cheesy for him to pass up. He'll go Jon Favreau from Swingers and say "we're definitely not in Kansas anymore." Just remember he said it, not me. Even if he is right.